“Honey, your father has been diagnosed with dementia. You know he has been acting strange and you told me to take him to the doctor. Well, this is what they have determined.” These words brought a new and more personal meaning to the issue of dementia when my mother told them to me 10 months ago. As health professionals we see patients with dementia and many of our peers wash their hands of this subgroup of older patients thinking that there is no skill involved or that there are no evidence-based interventions that can be used in the rehabilitation process. This is not true. This area of rehabilitation involves even greater skill to not only apply the mechanical techniques but also to recognize and address all the other issues that are going on to make these mechanical techniques effective. Communication, drugs' side effects, and motivation, to mention a few of the concurrent issues, must be evaluated on top of our traditional rehabilitation assessment, which is individualized to the older person.
As soon as my father was diagnosed (even before) I hit the literature looking for answers to many questions for myself and my family. I wish this issue had been published earlier because there is so much user-friendly information here from drugs to keeping a conversation going, all of which I will use not only with my patients but also with my family.
I have had the pleasure of seeing Dr Susan Staples lecture and she is brilliant! She integrates information for the practicing clinician and does it in humane digestible pieces. I had hoped she would do the same when putting together an issue of Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, and she exceeded my expectations. This issue shines with outstanding information ready for immediate clinical use. The authors and Dr Staples need to be congratulated on doing such an outstanding job of sifting through the numerous articles and ideologies in the rehabilitation community and choosing the most important information to share with the readership.
Thank you. I believe this issue will not only be read but also be referred to frequently. I know I will use and copy parts of it for my patients' family and my own family. From me, I extend not only a professional thank you but a personal one as well.
Carole B. Lewis, PT, GTC, GCS, MSG, MPA, PhD, FAPTA
President, Premier Therapy, Inc., Washington, DC, Associate Clinical Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md, and Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, Editor